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Curr Opin Cardiol. 2008 Mar;23(2):127-33. doi: 10.1097/HCO.0b013e3282f43039.

Biomarkers in heart failure management.

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  • 1Foothills Medical Centre/University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



Recent literature on the role of biomarkers in heart failure is reviewed, focusing on B-type natriuretic peptide.


Knowledge of the processes which increase ventricular stress, thus increasing B-type natriuretic peptide, is key to appropriate utilization and interpretation of B-type natriuretic peptide levels. B-type natriuretic peptide is a useful adjunct to confirm or rule out heart failure. B-type natriuretic peptide is a robust prognostic indicator in all stages of heart failure, with prognostic significance in patients undergoing cardiac and noncardiac surgery, and in those with acute coronary syndromes. Serial B-type natriuretic peptide testing predicts outcomes in hospitalized patients with heart failure. The role of B-type natriuretic peptide in screening high-risk populations is promising, but its use in unselected populations is unclear. There is increasing evidence that the use of B-type natriuretic peptide to guide heart failure management is associated with improved clinical outcomes and reduced health costs.


Biomarkers play an important role in heart failure, but there remain unanswered questions regarding optimization of their use. They should be used as an adjunct to, not replacement for, clinical assessment. Currently available B-type natriuretic peptide assays have limitations relating to clinical variability and assay specificity. Other neurohormonal, inflammatory and metabolic markers may add complementary information to that provided by currently available B-type natriuretic peptide assays.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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